Pros and Cons of Trial by Jury

Topics: Jury, Common law, Law Pages: 2 (632 words) Published: January 9, 2013
A jury trial (or trial by jury) is a legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact which are then applied by a judge. It is distinguished from a bench trial, in which a judge or panel of judges make all decisions. Jury trials are used in a significant share of serious criminal cases in almost all common law legal systems,[1] and juries or lay judges have been incorporated into the legal systems of many civil law countries for criminal cases. Only the United States and Canada make routine use of jury trials in a wide variety of non-criminal cases. Other common law legal jurisdictions use jury trials only in a very select class of cases. a jury is a collection of twelve randomly selected persons between the ages of 18 and 65 from the electoral roll. They are all registered voters and are resident citizens of the country . In most common law jurisdictions, the jury is responsible for finding the facts of the case, while the judge determines the law. These "peers of the accused" are responsible for listening to a dispute, evaluating the evidence presented, deciding on the facts, and making a decision in accordance with the rules of law and their jury instructions. Typically, the jury only judges guilt or a verdict of not guilty, but the actual penalty is set by the judge. An interesting innovation was introduced in Russia in the judicial reform of Alexander II: unlike in modern jury trials, jurors decided not only whether the defendant was guilty or not guilty, but they had the third choice: "Guilty, but not to be punished", since Alexander II believed that justice without morality is wrong. In countries where jury trials are common, juries are often seen as an important check against state power. Other common assertions about the benefits of trial by jury is that it provides a means of interjecting community norms and values into judicial proceedings and that it legitimizes the law by providing opportunities for citizens to...
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